Recommended Game — Small World

by A.J. Coltrane

Title:  Small World  — “It’s a World of SLaughter After All”

Game Type:  Irreverent High Fantasy-Expansion/Territorial acquisition. Vaguely reminiscent of games like “Risk”. (Well, there’s a board with a map, and you’re trying to take it over. The similarities end there.)

Number of Players:   2-5

Complexity of Rules:  Medium

Time to Play:   80 minutes

The Concept:   It’s a silly (and tiny) fantasy world, populated by Flying Giants, Merchant Skeletons, Commando Halflings, Seafaring Ghouls, and so on. The mix of races and special abilities are randomly paired together each game. The players then “draft” their race and try to occupy as much territory as possible. When a race has been stretched as thin as it can go, or has taken too many casualties, then the player will put that race into “Decline” (retire it) and draft a new race, re-entering the fray with fresh troops. Game length is 10 turns or less, depending upon the number of players.

Mid-game chaos.
Mid-game chaos. Note the absence of unoccupied space.

Why I Like It:  The silly approach to high fantasy is handled well. The artwork is well done. Selecting the races requires thought and a critical eye for the race/ability combos that may be advantageous at the moment. There’s a nice mix of strategy and somewhat chaotic gameplay — if you play with your brain turned off you likely won’t win. It’s fun to rampage across the countryside, wiping out your friends’ troops as you go. It’s also fun to yell stuff like “Pillaging Ratmen!” or “Alchemist Trolls!”, and have the whole table groan.  Once everyone gets the hang of it the game moves right along.

Boardgamegeek page here.

One thought on “Recommended Game — Small World

  1. What I enjoy about the game is that there are different “right answers”. Also it’s not the same game every time because the ability that each race possesses changes with every game. Just because the last game you did well with Commando Elves. Next game you might have to choose between Commando Skeletons and Mounted Elves makes for a little variety.

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